The Games People Play

Heston

Our fellow-blogger, AFrankAngle is a teacher. His posts are well researched and clearly presented. His interests cover a wide territory, and include social and political happenings. He is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is keeping an eye on, and commenting about, the upcoming Presidential election.

The State of Ohio plays a pivotal role in such elections. It hosts the Primaries, and is a make-or-break State. I hope both you and Frank are appalled and outraged by the following little story.

The wife plays several games on a game site, as an anodyne to get her through some pain-filled days. Nothing exciting like Grand Theft Auto – just Canasta, Monopoly, Jungle Gym, Scrabble, and occasionally Crossword Cove, which I help her with. Usually she plays against the computer, because she says the other humans are too stupid and slow, and resentful when they get beat.

Apparently wasting spending time just playing games isn’t enough. The game site has recently added a chat-room-type sidebar, where you can make comments while you’re playing the games. It provides a list of conversation starters.

A couple of days ago, it listed;

What genre of Television do you prefer?
Who is your favorite Television character?
What Television episode disappointed you most with its outcome?

There were no takers for the TV genre question, I suspect because no-one knew what that big word, genre, meant.

Some woman got the TV character segment off to a bad start by listing Robert Uhrich, who was an actor, not a TV character, and who died 12 years ago. She was followed by a player who identified as a 67-year-old man from Ohio.

Perhaps led astray by the woman, he went even farther afield by declaring that his favorite TV character was Charles Heston, and the TV episode that disappointed him most was Ben-Her.

People, get out there and vote! These highly knowledgeable people vote, and if you don’t, Donald Trump will get to be president. 😳

And now back to our regularly scheduled rant about Canadian politics, so that you’ll know that there are idiots on both sides of the 49th parallel. We have a candidate for Prime Minister who first told us that, “The budget will balance itself.” He’s now switched to Care Bear policies, where he claims the budget needs to be, “Balanced from the heart outward.” Donald Trump is startin’ to look good.

#495

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Lawsuit

Five Golden Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 14, 2014

Dearest John,

I went to the door today and the postman delivered a Partridge in a Pear Tree.  What a thoroughly delightful gift!  I couldn’t have been more surprised.

With deepest love and affection
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 15, 2014

Dearest John,

Today the postman brought your very sweet gift.  Just imagine – Two Turtle Doves.  I’m delighted at your very thoughtful gift.  They are just adorable.  You big silly, what next?

All my love
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 16, 2014

Dear John,

Oh!  Aren’t you the extravagant one! Now I really must protest.  I don’t deserve such generosity – Three French Hens.  They are just darling, but I must protest, you’ve been too kind.

Love Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 17, 2014

Dear John,

Today the postman delivered Four Calling Birds.  Now, really, they’re beautiful, but don’t you think enough is enough?  You’re being far too romantic.

Affectionately
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 18, 2014

Dearest John,

What a surprise!  Today the postman delivered Five Golden Rings; one for every finger.  You’re just impossible, but I love it.  Frankly, all those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 19, 2014

Dear John,

When I opened the door there were actually Six Geese A-Laying on my front steps.  So you’re back to the birds again, huh?  Those geese are huge.  Where will I ever keep them?  The neighbors are complaining, and I can’t sleep through the racket. Please stop.

Cordially
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s body, OH

Dec. 20, 2014

John:

What’s with you and these fucking birds?  Seven Swans A-Swimming??  What kind of God-damned joke is this?  There’s bird shit all over the house, and they never stop with the racket.  I can’t sleep at night, and I’m a nervous wreck.  It’s not funny, so stop with the fucking birds.

Sincerely
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 21, 2014

Okay Buster:

I think I prefer the birds.  What in Hell am I going to do with Eight Maids A-Milking?  It’s not enough with all those birds and the Maids, but they had to bring along their God-damned cows!  There’s shit all over the lawn, and I can’t move in my own house.  What are you doing to me?  Just lay off me, smart-ass!

 

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 22, 2014

Hey Shithead:

What are you?  Some kind of fucking sadist?  Now there’s Nine Pipers Piping.  And Christ, do they ever play!  They’ve never stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning.  The cows are upset and they’re stepping all over those screeching birds.  What am I going to do?  The neighbors have started a petition to evict me.

You’ll Get Yours!
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 23, 2014

You Rotten Prick:

Now there’s Ten Ladies Dancing.  I don’t know why they call these sluts Ladies.  They’ve been balling those Pipers all night long.  Now the cows can’t sleep, and they’ve got diarrhea.  My living room is a river of shit!  The Commissioner of Buildings has subpoenaed me to give reason why the house shouldn’t be condemned. I’m going to sic the police on you. One who means it!

Venomously
Honey

***

Miss Honey Waste
Dog’s Body, OH

Dec. 24, 2014

Listen Fuckhead:

What’s with the Eleven Lords A-Leaping on those Maids and Ladies?  Some of those broads will never walk again.  Those Pipers ran through the Maids, and have been committing sodomy with the cows.  All twenty-three of the birds are dead.  They’ve been trampled to death in the orgy.  I hope you’re satisfied, you rotten, vicious swine.

Your sworn enemy
Honey

***

From The Legal Offices Of DEWEY, CHEATHAM and HOWE
Dog’s Anus, OH

Dec. 26, 2014

Dear Sir:

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of Twelve Fiddlers Fiddling, which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, one Miss Honey Waste.  The destruction, of course, was total.

All correspondence should come to our attention.  If you should attempt to reach Miss Waste at the Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight.  With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.

Cordially

I. M. A. Badger

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Nine

 

  Day 5 – Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig

After meeting with, not one, but two fellow bloggers, blowing the exhaust system off the car, getting seriously GPS lost –twice – and attending a disappointing knife show, it might seem that the adventure was pretty much over.  We just intended to head for Detroit, and do a bit of shopping before slipping back over the line, to quiet Canuckville.

Prison

 

 

 

Fortunately for my publishing stats, fate still had a couple of (hopefully) interesting things in the wings. As we motored north on I-77, we suddenly passed a State Prison.  We came up over a rise, and there it was, right beside the road on our left.  I assume that the place with the concrete buildings, double twelve-foot high chain-link fences with razor wire on top and a ten-foot kill zone between them, was a prison, not a chicken hatchery.

We drove near one years ago, near Lapeer, MI.  For miles there were signs beside the highway, warning, “Caution Prison!  Do not pick up hitchhikers!”  This place – not so much.  While not near any urban area, I was surprised that it was so near a major highway.  Don’t they put prisons in places like Alcatraz, miles from anywhere?  I guess guards don’t like living in the middle of nowhere, delivery trucks don’t like driving there, and prisoners have the right to quick medical transportation.

As we came north, we reached a secondary road branching off the Interstate, which would angle northwest to Toledo, saving us several miles of driving, and a couple of dollars of road toll.  Northwest Ohio should be flatter and straighter than the Southeast corner, but my ass was still sore from being bitten by ‘Ohio 23’, so we drove on up north, to the Lake Erie shore, passing close to Kent State University, where CSNY sang of Four Dead In Ohio.

Cleveland Rocks!  Cleveland Rocks!  Even if we didn’t see Drew Carey, or the Rock and Roll Museum.  We did see the section of Ohio that Chrissie Hynde lamented had been paved over, by a government that had no pride – from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls.

After rolling through the concrete jungle of Cuyahoga Falls, and Cleveland, we climbed on I-80, the Ohio Turnpike.  We grabbed a ticket, and headed for the toll booths at Toledo.  For the entire length that we drove, the east- and west-bound traffic were separated by concrete, K-rail, Jersey Barriers.  Not all of Ontario’s high-speed highways are completely supplied, to prevent crossover accidents.  Our local ring-road bypass, The Conestoga Expressway, still has open areas, despite 6 deaths in the last five years.

Every mile, the ends of two K-rails were offset, to allow police and emergency vehicles to U-turn, and for cops to hide, while watching for speeders. The right lane was crowded with trucks, including a number of triple-trailer transport-trains.  I was keeping up with traffic at the legal 65 MPH limit, in the middle lane.  A half-mile ahead, I saw the nose of a cruiser sticking out from one of the gaps.  In my mirror, I also saw a couple of bumble-bee cars, zipping in and out of the left lane, and rapidly overtaking me.

Just like the old cliché, they passed me like I was standing still.  Then, the guy in the lead spotted the cop, and piled on the binders.  The guy racing him didn’t see anything, and almost piled into the back of him.  Suddenly driving very slowly, they cut in front of me, and all the way over to the right lane, ending up ahead of, and behind, an overloaded half-ton, but I saw the cop pull out.

Cop Car

 

 

I told the wife that he was chasing the speeders.  “Who?  Where?”  “Those guys.” – pointing.  “But he’s waving at you??”  “Me?  What did I do?”  I looked out my window, and sure enough, he indicated for me to fall back.  He could hit the lights and siren, and force his way in, but it might set off a dangerous chase, and one or both could get away.  I eased back.  He eased in, right beside them, and turned on the lights.  They both looked chagrined and resigned as they pulled over.

I had hoped to gas up once we reached Detroit, but pulled off I-75 at Gibraltar, 25 miles short.  Just as I reached the bottom of the ramp, a dash chime sounded, and the ‘Fill Me’ light came on.  Already overfed, and eating less because of old age, we skipped the steak and baked potato at The Outback, and supper was a ‘Blooming Onion’ and a small loaf of pumpernickel bread from their takeout, taken back to the motel.

The next morning, we purchased another 25 pounds of Michigan beet sugar, the wife could not find any suitable tops which fit her, we topped up the gas tank again at the Meijer’s store, and had brunch once again at a Denny’s, before heading for the Ambassador Bridge.

Ambassador Bridge 2

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Bridge

 

 

 

Construction on the second bridge has not yet begun, and won’t be complete before we hope to travel here again, but is sorely needed.  Two-lane, bumper-to-bumper backup from the Customs booths started at the middle of the bridge.  When I finally reached the bottom, I was facing South, (check your maps) into the bright sunshine.

I thought, “When I get to pull into the shadow at the booth, I need to remember to take off my sunglasses.” – and then that thought flew south with the Canada geese.  I handed out our Passports, and the female officer, who was wearing purple rubber gloves, imperiously reminded me.

The new Windsor bypass is almost complete, and quickly whisked us five miles out, to the end of Highway 401….where we encountered a roundabout??!  Way to go, Ontario!  Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day, at least half of them trucks, headed for the US, across the most heavily-traveled US/Canada border crossing….  and it all comes down to a roundabout??

I need to rest my brain.  We’ll be home soon.  😀

 

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Eight

Day 4/Part 2 – Satisfaction, or, The Eyes of Ohio’s Potatoes Are Upon You

After escaping from the Children Of The Corn, otherwise known as Stills R Us, we drove up the side road, and, on only the second attempt, parked in front of John Erickson’s house.  Without ever being there, BrainRants should recognize the improvements John has made.  Flak TowerJohn gave me his street number about a year ago, but I misplaced it, and had to rely on AFrankAngle to provide it again.

I’d actually hoped to reach here two days ago, but the muffler intruded.  I didn’t know whether either of them had any idea that we were coming.  At noon on a Saturday seemed a good possibility to find one or both home.  I had an explanatory letter, which I was going to leave if no-one answered.  I tentatively climbed the front stairs and pushed the doorbell, and heard human movement inside, as well as a worried dog.

Soon, a lady Munchkin appeared, opened the door, and stepped outside.  She looked at me quizzically.  To have someone ring their bell is unusual.  To have someone ring their bell, who is not part of their inbred, easily recognized community, was just astronomical.  I didn’t even have a beard, or bib overalls.

Hillbilly Couple

 

 

 

 

 

I told her that I was The Archon, John Smith, from the Archon’s Den blogsite, and I was here to see John E., if he was well enough to accept visitors.  Like John, she accesses several Sci-Fi sites, and the term ‘Archon’ made her wonder if I was someone that she should know, but, I’d asked for John.  He was at home, in fine fettle, and holding back the big dumb dog, to keep it from rushing out the door.  If I didn’t mind the dog, he would be happy to receive me.

We stepped in, and John looked up, puzzled, from a kneeling position.  The wife had let me in, but now it was his turn to wonder who this space alien from Area 51 was.  I let the dog quickly nuzzle me before I repeated the introduction, Archon!  Archon’s Den, John Smith, here to see him.

It was sublime, to watch the thoughts and emotions chase themselves across his face.  Who?  You?! Here?  Now?  Me?  Really?!  I would like to think that John was as pleased and impressed to meet me, as I was to see him.  He jumped up, and we shook hands like we’d never need them again.   Despite Frank visiting a couple of years ago, they just couldn’t believe that someone else would show up out here, in the wilds of Ohio, or that a coterie of other bloggers would worry enough to want me to.

Even worse than our 4 and 1, they have 7 cats, and the dog.  I did not feel that the allergy-laden wife would fare well inside.  In fact, John suggested that we step across the street to the basement meeting room of the church, which he has a key to.  I invited the wife to come along but, as shaken and sore as she was, she wished to remain in the now-stationary and comfortable car, knitting.

After an hour of solitary gum-flapping, his wife showed up with a piece of paper with all kinds of contact info, PO box, cell phone numbers, his and hers email addresses, for when the electrons started flowing again.  She told me that I had a darling wife.  While John and I huddled in the cave, she had spotted the wife, abandoned in the car, and came out and stood beside her, and the gals got to know each other.

Soon, we returned to the car, and photos were taken of various combinations of happy folks, and the front of the house.  John took me around to the back, which as you saw above, looks a little different.

SDC10679

 

 

 

SDC10678

The mental image we have of someone we’ve never met, never matches the reality when we do.  From his gravatar, I’ve always pictured John as a short, squat, ugly, little garden gnome.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He’s actually fairly tall….  😉

In fact, both he and his lovely wife, are intelligent, well-spoken, friendly, welcoming, down-to-earth people who are wasted on the fellow denizens out there.  I don’t know if he shaves any portion of his head, but he is completely bald, which explains the hats.  He is incredibly curious, and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, and his wife doesn’t give up any points to him, either.

If John and I hadn’t been ‘guys’, we might have hugged.  We drove away, sadly, all too soon, with a warm happy glow.  Compounded with the reception by Cordelia’s Mom, in Buffalo, we should be smiling all winter.  If you ever have the chance to meet a fellow blogger who is geographically close enough, observe on-line dating precautions, but go for it!

Virtually nothing can top the story of meeting the Windy City Wonderer, but we had another day on this trip, and I have a few occurrences and observations to relate, so there will be one more episode.  Stop back to read the story of the highway cop who didn’t arrest me, during a four-hour trek to Detroit.

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Seven

Day 4/Part 1 – I Shoulda Stood In Bed

Cordelia’s Mom was a joy to visit.  We would do it again in a heartbeat; in fact we may do so, next year, on a weekend, so that we could also meet Cordelia, her Dad, and her sister.  Buffalo is only a two-hour drive, as opposed to four, for Detroit.  But the primary goal of this trip was always to meet John Erickson, especially after his recent, uncharacteristic, internet silence.

Online maps said that it was an hour and a half, from our motel to John’s place.  Add slowdown because of road construction, and the possibility (Certainty!) of getting lost, and it might take three hours.  Allow time for meet and greet, and another four-hour drive to Detroit – it was going to be a lonnng day, so we were up and ready to leave early.

I lamented to the checkout clerk that there was no way to get around the potential traffic jam.  “Oh sure there is.  Just go to the edge of town and turn north on Ohio 23.  It’ll take you right to Newcomerstown.”  Sure enough, the flat print map showed a gently curving line, sweeping at a tangent, right to where we wanted to go.

The Map is not the Territory.  I’d have done better, both on the car, and on the wife, to have chanced the backup on the Interstate.  Any resemblance between Ohio 23, and an actual highway, was purely coincidental.  The optimistic hour and a half stretched to well over two hours.  Not once in that time did I drive the car faster than 40 MPH.

The Golden Dragon roller-coaster at Six Flags might have had more twists, and stomach-turning, heart-stopping plunges.  The only thing that narrow little road didn’t have, was a loop-the-loop, and I’m not entirely certain of that.  The poor wife was shaken and rattled in every arthritic joint.  She ached!

Miss GPS was having another snit because I insisted on taking the back road.  She wouldn’t even RECALCULATE, and kept insisting that I return to the Interstate, so we turned her off.  As we slid under I-77, and neared John’s house, I turned her back on again.

“Turn right on Highway 21, and immediately left on County road 49.”  Well, that might take us in the back way, but I know that John lives just off Highway 93, so I proceeded further west.  Sure enough, in 3 more kilometers, she said, “Turn right on 93, and proceed 7.2 km.”  There, she ordered me to, “Turn left on Highway 2.”  It was a gravel road, barely wide enough for an Amish wagon, so I proceeded further north – till the paved highway ran out, and I turned onto the far end of “Highway 2.”

Lost and Confused Signpost

 

 

 

If I thought I was lost yesterday, the Hell was just beginning.  Already off ‘the paved road’, we soon left gravel again for a dirt road, and finally, in the middle of a ten or twelve mile loop, drove across an acre of grass field, with two ruts in it.  If the Amish drive their buggies this way, they have to use mares or geldings, because a stallion would high-center.  All I could hear was my new $400 muffler going clang, clang, clang.

We finally reached paved road again, the correct paved road, as it happens.  I turned north, and soon reached a church and a cheese factory which I knew were north of John.  Turn around and head south again, soon we finally reached John’s little cluster of houses.

After three hours without a rest stop, both of us had to go – badly.  There’s no There, there.  I pulled in, and asked the lady who runs the two-pump gas station/convenience store/bait, tackle, and hunting shop, about a public washroom.  She just looked at me strangely, until the bearded stunt co-ordinator for Duck Dynasty explained to her that, “Some peoples is got they privies inside t’ buildin’s.”

Rednecks

 

 

 

 

With the possible exception of BrainRants, I swear never to turn off the paved road again.  These folks are so off the beaten track, that Friday the thirteenth doesn’t occur until Sunday.  A lot of them are happy when they reach 21 – because not just everyone’s IQ goes that high out there.  When John and his wife moved in, the average rose considerably, but the same could be said about a load of pumpkins.

After the pit stop, we met John and his wife at their impressive country mansion, and were warmly welcomed, but that, again, is a story for another day.  We left John’s place and turned south on 93.  It did not, at all, resemble the road we’d driven north on.  It did resemble the Highway 93 I’d used Google Street-View to research.

When we popped back out onto the east/west feeder highway, I turned back east and, only a couple of miles up the road, I found County Road 93.  This was the one that Evil Ethel Snitfit had led me astray on.  Way to go, Ohio, put two roads, both numbered 93, right beside each other.  No wonder Rants badmouths Nohio.  😦

 

Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Five

 

Day 2/Part 2 – Wheeling To Wheeling

When we last left our hero and heroine, they were dashing west, across the New York Turnpike, towards Erie, PA. Safely reaching there, they quickly turned south, for another 3 ½ hour drive, just past Wheeling, WV.  Being at the top of the rapidly narrowing panhandle, Wheeling is a place where you can be in three states in under a half-hour.  We did the same kind of thing a few years ago, on our way to Front Royal, VA, coming out of PA, across 18 miles of Maryland panhandle, and into Virginia.

Traffic was light, so I was running on autopilot. Soon though, we came up behind a minivan moving erratically – slow down, speed up, trouble staying between the lines.  I thought maybe someone was drunk or stoned, but it had a fish-shaped plastic sticker on the back, indicating that it was owned/operated by a “Good Christian.”  Drugs apparently are a big problem.  Signs all along the highway urge anyone with concerns, or information, to call #799.

When I finally felt it was safe to pass, I found it driven by a big-haired blonde, with a cell phone jammed in her ear. Way to go, bitch!  Obey church rules, but ignore State legislation against distracted driving.  It would have produced a very non-porn meaning to the phrase, “Oh God, I’m coming.”  I just didn’t want to be around for either version.

SDC10676

 

 

 

 

St. Clairsville, OH, where our Red Roof Inn was located, is at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and the motel is perched almost at the top of a steep little hill. I missed the easily accessible, but unmarked side driveway, and had to drive down the hill, and turn and climb back up to the aerie.  At the bottom of the hill, I gunned the engine – and blew the entire back end off the exhaust system.

The wife was mortified by the roar, but the locals, in their Ford F250s and Dodge Rams never even noticed. They probably thought I was there to compete in the tractor pull.  You know you’re staying in YeeHawville, when the young man, carrying a baby, in front of you in line at the WalMart, adds a six-pack tube of Copenhagen snuff to his order, and the most often-shown ad on TV is for an on-line dating service – FarmersOnly.Com.

SDC10672

 

 

 

 

We checked in, and the room clerk told me that there was a Meineke Muffler shop somewhere in the plaza across the street. I said I’d walk over to check out opening times, after supper.  “Oh, it’s too far to walk!”  I could have seen it, if I knew where to look.

With roads hanging off the sides of hills, I walked a block down the hill, to the main road, and a block back up a hill, to the plaza entrance, then a block back down, into the actual parking area. I could have hit it with a thrown stone from the motel, but it was the best part of a mile to actually get there.

A clerk at the Kroger didn’t know of any Meineke shop, but one at the WalMart told me that it was really a Monroe Muffler shop, located in the farthest corner. The sign in the window said they opened at 7:30 AM, and I was there as the mechanic arrived.  Sadly, there were cars left for service, overnight, and people with appointments.  They would get to mine as soon as possible, perhaps by noon, perhaps by closing.

I barely had time to walk back to the motel, when the phone rang. The guy with the 7:30 appointment hadn’t stopped in.  They had looked at my car, and he rattled off a list of items which needed replacing.  For the mere sum of $358.79US ($400 Can), I could have the car back in time to attend the knife show.  Did I wish to proceed? Did I have any choice??!

But, these are tales of tomorrow, to be told in the next episode, when the car moves much faster, not having to drag all that heavy cash around. Y’all come back now!   🙂

Flash Fiction #23

Bench & water

 

 

 

 

 

Reeling

Bob liked to walk down to the little Marine Memorial park for a smoke. He should give the filthy things up completely, and was down to a couple a day.  He actually enjoyed the fresh air.

He liked to read the commemorative plaques. For an inland little Ohio town, with only a pond not much bigger than a bathtub, it had produced a large number a famous Naval Officers.

He glanced out across the water.  What??!  This wasn’t Loch Ness.  That can’t be a monster!  Wait!  A Russian submarine??  Weren’t the Swedes looking for one??  How did it get here?

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.